Sports Outside the Beltway

Barbaro RIP

The 2006 Kentucky Derby winner was euthanized this morning.

KENNETT SQUARE, Pa. – Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro was euthanized Monday after complications from his gruesome breakdown at last year’s Preakness, ending an eight-month ordeal that prompted an outpouring of support across the country.


“We just reached a point where it was going to be difficult for him to go on without pain,” co-owner Roy Jackson said. “It was the right decision, it was the right thing to do. We said all along if there was a situation where it would become more difficult for him then it would be time.”

A series of ailments, including laminitis in the left rear hoof and a recent abscess in the right rear hoof, proved too much for the gallant colt.

Barbaro battled in his ICU stall for eight months. The 4-year-old colt underwent several procedures and was fitted with fiberglass casts. He spent time in a sling to ease pressure on his legs, had pins inserted and was fitted at the end with an external brace. These were all extraordinary measures for a horse with such injuries.

Roy and Gretchen Jackson were with Barbaro on Monday morning, with the owners making the decision in consultation with chief surgeon Dr. Dean Richardson.

“I would say thank you for everything, and all your thoughts and prayers over the last eight months or so,” Jackson said to Barbaro’s fans.

On May 20, Barbaro was rushed to the New Bolton Center, about 30 miles from Philadelphia in Kennett Square, hours after shattering his right hind leg just a few strides into the Preakness Stakes. The bay colt underwent a five-hour operation that fused two joints, recovering from an injury most horses never survive. But Barbaro never regained his natural gait.

He suffered a significant setback over the weekend, and surgery was required to insert two steel pins in a bone — one of three shattered in the Preakness but now healthy — to eliminate all weight bearing on the ailing right rear foot.

The procedure Saturday was a risky one, because it transferred more weight to the leg while the foot rests on the ground bearing no weight.

The leg was on the mend until the abscess began causing discomfort last week. Until then, the major concern was Barbaro’s left rear leg, which developed laminitis in July, and 80 percent of the hoof was removed.

Richardson said Monday morning that Barbaro did not have a good night.

I believe Barbaro is the first former Triple Crown race winner in modern history to be euthanized due to race related injuries.

Barbaro’s death is sad but not unexpected. I never thought the horse had much of a chance and was surprised to see him live as long as he did.

What I say next may sound harsh, but I bet the only sadness the horse’s owners feel are in not in regards to the tragic death Barbaro suffered but to the hit to their pocket books from the vet bills and lost of income from Barbaro’s future as a stud horse. I’ve been around the horse racing business for a good chunk of my life. These animals are considered PROPERTY not pets to almost all those involved in the sport.

Note- I corrected my Triple Crown reference.

Cross Posted at Poliblog’s Deportes

Related Stories:
Recent Stories:

Comments are Closed


Visitors Since Feb. 4, 2003

All original content copyright 2003-2008 by OTB Media. All rights reserved.